There's always something new to discover at FortWhyte Alive.
Photo by Brittany Willacy
Winnipeg-based songstress Raine Hamilton has been described as "a cross between a shorter, more musical Tina Fey, and a shorter, funnier Joni Mitchell." One of nine participants in the first-ever Manitoba Music Songwriting Retreat at FortWhyte Alive, held this past month, Raine is a relatively new favourite of the Canadian folk music scene. Her current project? Preparing for the release of her first full-length album Past Your Past at West End Cultural Centre May 27th. But your next chance to see Raine Hamilton on stage is this Thursday at the Manitoba Music Songwriter Concert at FortWhyte Alive.
RH: For me, playing and writing music is deeply nourishing. It is like joy is a food group, and this is how I get my fill. Often it is a healing experience, and I welcome that.
RH: Last summer I performed at the Edge of the World Festival on Haida Gwaii, the islands way to the North and way to the West of BC. I had that great feeling of yes. "Yes. This is where I'm supposed to be. This is what I am supposed to do. This is a life well and joyfully lived." That was the farthest I had ever toured, and I did it alone, finding a community of artists along the way.
RH: I've got a few ideal weekends. One involves me and the creative spirit, alone somewhere in the natural world. Another involves a lakeside cabin, friends, and Beatles jamming until dawn. Another involves sewing something - a dress, a skirt, anything ambitious. This is one of my favourite things to do.
RH: We wrote a song about the prairies at the retreat. I savoured the experience of connecting with the prairie, of experiencing it from different perspectives. Our song, La plaine, written by myself, Arianne Jean, and Dominique Lemoine of À La Mode, is a bilingual roots tune, drawn from the vulnerability of the prairie. And that is what I think makes the prairie so special. It is beautifully vulnerable out there; the prairie and the heavens, the prairie and the elements, the prairie and all of creation, in touch, nothing in the way.
"Nowhere to hide, there is nothing between me and the stars
No one to lie to, there is nothing between me and my pride
RH: I love to run! I am a barefoot runner, and it is just the best!
RH: I'd love to learn sound engineering. I've got long-term plans to be an engineer/producer.
RH: The deer. Want to see my tattoo?
RH: We had a great time at the FortWhyte Alive/Manitoba Music songwriting retreat! My favourite memory is the first late-night recording session. Hearing everyone's songs, feeling miles away from the city, seeing the bright whiteness of the moon over the lake. That was pretty amazing. And this entire nature-inspired songwriting getaway was right inside the city! What a gem you are, FortWhyte Alive!
Many hands are needed to ensure FortWhyte Alive Summer Day Camp runs smoothly: one Camp Director, three Section Coordinators, a Lifeguard and 110 Volunteer Camp Counsellors. Youth counsellors ages 14-19 represent FortWhyte in all connections with campers and their parents. They need to be mature and professional in manner, at the same time being enthusiastic and fun each day. John Hrynchuk is one of these camp counsellors.
John started coming to FortWhyte as a camper when he was 10-years-old. After his final year as a Fox Bay camper, he applied to be a counsellor. John was keen to take on this role because he enjoyed being outside, had good summer memories, and wanted to recreate these times for other campers.
2015 will be John’s fourth year as a counsellor. He says he returns each year because he enjoys being with the kids, and has made friends. The counsellor role has taught him how to be a good leader and communicate well with a group of children. He now sees situations as a leader rather than “going with the flow”– understanding what it takes to create an experience that makes camp special. John uses these skills on his resumé, and will have the Volunteer Manager as a reference when applying for employment.
John recommends interested youth apply for the position for Summer Day Camp Counsellor if they want to gain leadership experience, if they have dedication to working with children and love being outside in all kinds of weather. “The FortWhyte camp counsellor experience will push you to understand that even when you don’t feel like making the effort, you have to, because there is a room full of kids waiting for you.”
After their training, counsellors can volunteer in the spring, winter and more summer day camps. Other opportunities such as working at School Volunteer Fairs, Trick or Treat in the Forest, or Easter Egg Hunts are available during the year. Volunteer hours for school credits are easily obtained by FortWhyte counsellors.
John is in Grade 11, and this year he participated in the Kelvin High Volunteer Fair promoting FortWhyte Alive Summer Camp Counsellor positions to his fellow students. His volunteer time is in addition to getting up at 5 am for his rigorous speed skating training in preparation for the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC. He has certainly learned how to push himself while having fun, and FortWhyte Alive is fortunate to have volunteer counsellors like John each summer.
FortWhyte Alive thanks Lafarge, FWA's Volunteer Program Sponsor.
We stayed open late for a truly ‘wild’ night this past Saturday,
Friday, March 6th, started out at a seasonal -10C, but temperatures warmed up to a balmy -3C with warm sun by the afternoon. A great day to learn about the Arctic outdoors!
A big thank you to the scientists from University of Manitoba (CEOS) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to Michelle Watts of Schools on Board/ArcticNet for her role in coordinating, and to the FortWhyte volunteers and staff who helped out with the day.
Research stations set up at FortWhyte Alive's Lake Cargill included two pop-up fishing shelters for water sampling and microbiology, a snow pit and ice coring activity, a meteorological station, and an area for sampling contaminants in water and snow. Students also had the opportunity to learn about remote sensing technologies that are used to assess ice thickness in the north, as well as examine marine mammal artifacts such as narwhal tusks, seal skins and baleen. 84 high school students from 14 schools, with 17 teachers came for the full day of learning.
At the Interpretive Center, 66 Grade 8 students from Arthur Day School and Van Walleghem School learned how to tell the age and life stories of fish by dissecting out their ear bones ("otoliths"), sampled water chemistry, and learned about changes in Inuit clothing and culture over time.
Many teachers are committed to returning next year, to give this unique opportunity to more students. Arctic Science Day brings science to the next level, helping students to imagine possible future careers and the roles they can play in understanding and planning for the changes that a warming Arctic will bring to northern communities and to the world.
"We learned that climate change can mess up the food chain," and "that climate change can affect humans as much as it affects animals,' were among the comments from grade 8 students from Arthur Day School.
"It seems like we are always talking about those algae growing under the ice. They must be really important to the ecosystem," commented students from Acadia Jr. High.
Thanks to everyone involved for a great day. See you next year!
Learn more about the Schools on Board Outreach program here.